Tag Archives: transformation

Drift, wait and obey

26 Jan

kiplingToday is one of those days. I feel a shadowy presence roaming along the borders of my consciousness. I sense it there, unformed; a half-life seeking birth and expression. Its lack of definition offers me unrest and dis-ease.  I understand. I used to let these vague feelings of non-being  permeate my entire day, my entire being – I identified with it. Now I realize that I am (rather considerately) being warned that the ground is about to shift under my feet and that I must pay attention. Knowing this, I will happily go about my business without the depression and ennui that once took my days. I am waiting for the birthing of…something.

I know now that ‘The Daemon’ is in charge. The daemon is the ancient Greek concept of our genius- that outer entity that is half responsible for our creative work. As Elizabeth Gilbert shares so brilliantly in her TED talk on ‘your elusive creative genius’, we are not solely responsible for our creativity- our job is to just show up at the desk, in the studio, wherever we do our work. The Genius’ job is to provide, well, the genius. We must put the work in, we must ask the questions, we must agonize over the problem at hand. And once we come to that frustratingly terrible impasse, that point at which we often give up in frustration- that is the moment the call goes out. My yoga instructor told me last week that you are not really ‘in the pose’ until you are ready to come out of it. Right? The Genius is just like that. It’s when we are calling it a day that the real work has been done.

I once heard a lovely story about Monet. It was said that he had a spot in his garden where his neighbor would often see him sitting in the sunshine, doing nothing. ‘Ah, the life of a painter- all work!’ joked the neighbor. ‘Indeed’ said Monet, ‘when I sit here, you are watching me work. When I paint- that is the easy part.’ When we are inspired- filled with the spirit of the thing- it takes us over and it moves us. There is no thinking, just doing, and we rarely have doubt concerning what is to be done. Beautiful clarity, flow and fitting of things together.

When your daemon is doing its thing, however; offering no resistance is the key to one’s sanity. It is best to just ‘drift, wait and obey’.  This was Rudyard Kipling’s mantra and was also successfully used by Harold Arlen, the famous Hollywood composer, who  seemed to have brilliant song lyrics just fall into his lap. How did he do it? ‘I drift, wait and obey.’ Like Monet, and all creatives, he had agonized over the problem at hand, tried to come up with his own brand of amazing, but just couldn’t get it. Then…he let it go. Went for a drive with his wife as the story goes. Suddenly he was scribbling away like a maniac in the car, the words for Somewhere Over the Rainbow appearing in dazzling perfection for The Wizard of Oz.

Allow for this drifting. Be patient with waiting. It’s hard for me today, I want to be busy. I want to feel ‘productive’.  However, I know better than to fight it. I know better than to help the butterfly out of the cocoon. This birth must happen on its own terms, in its own time. Will it be stunning? Amazing? Fireworks of brilliance? Who knows? Far more likely scenario: a subtle revelation of something incredibly obvious that has finally moved from my head to my heart – a slow burning thing that will change my life from the inside out.

I put my pens and paper away today. I will do as Kipling did- take a walk in the lush Sussex countryside  snow covered suburbs – and be at peace with the process. My process. I welcome the help; glad the Muse has shown up as anticipated. I call, she comes. That’s the job of a genius after all. It is helpful to know this now, to know that I must watch and wait. Many times over the years, I have given up in frustration, only to stay closed as the many signs appeared that were to guide me to my next adventure. I called, The Genius showed up- and I missed it, cursing her lack of attention.

But she is my other half, for better or for worse, in sickness, and health; my ancient partner in creativity and life. Maybe I’ll light a candle to honor her coming – or burn some incense. I think she’d appreciate this more than a plate of cookies with milk, the typical offering for quasi-real people who magically enter the house bearing gifts. It’s comforting to know my work is done and I can have open mind rather than obsessive mind. I can allow time to work on my breathing and create the necessary inner space for transformation.

Who are you?

7 Jun
The old paradigm is finding a place for ourselves in the world. The new paradigm is finding a place for the world in ourselves. -Marianne Williamson

The old paradigm is finding a place for ourselves in the world. The new paradigm is finding a place for the world in ourselves.
-Marianne Williamson

The higher you’re going to fly in life, the less dead weight you can carry. Many old beliefs can be re-evaluated. For instance, my third grade teacher once said to me that I was obnoxious. Granted, it was an understatement, however, it became a die-hard belief. I went through years of obnoxious. Does it apply to me now? Or is it out- dated and better dropped altogether? Can I replace it with a new belief that supports and empowers who I am now? ‘I am obnoxious’ could become ‘I am full of energy’.  And, when you’re over forty, that’s a good thing.
See your situation; recognize the beliefs that are creating it, and replace them with ones that serve who you are now. You can drop the beliefs completely, but sometimes it’s easier initially, to replace them with something supportive. Retrain your mind. Stop creating the drama that results from living out of unconscious, out-dated beliefs. It’s where you place your attention that makes the difference. It’s your choice. Stop paying attention to beliefs that hold you back and start focusing on beliefs that help you on your chosen path.
Accept your life exactly as it is right now. Accept your past, and examine the beliefs that have got you where you are. Change them if need be. Agree to love yourself right here, right now. There is no one else like you on the planet. You are perfectly yourself. Get back in the flow of life by accepting ‘what-is’. Remember, life is always moving forward. Don’t get stuck in the backwaters suffering with resentment and fear. Get back in the current as quickly as possible. Those backwaters are loaded with bitter, resentful people who watch life go by, suffering endlessly and pointlessly.
Real suffering, conscious suffering, takes place when you go through the necessary pain of changing your beliefs. They are beloved to you– old friends. Many were created unconsciously to protect you. You are big enough to choose beliefs more in keeping with who you are now. The suffering is in the letting go. But once you let go of the past and those worn-out beliefs, you are released. The only way to be truly present, and truly free, is to accept life as it is, fresh, ever changing. When you try to make any of life, as such, conform to your ‘belief system’, you are tying it down, holding it still. Water that doesn’t move stagnates. Allow yourself to flow along with life. Gracefully turn over your false sense of control to the bigger force that is unfolding the Universe, exactly as it needs to be, yourself included.
As you exchange old beliefs for new, see this letting go for what it is: a temporary return to chaos. You are inviting change. Change is by nature unsettling. In the growth required to adopt a new set of beliefs, there is a large spurt of expansion and activity. It is followed by a rebalancing time of contracting; a time of stillness, to allow the pieces to reform into a coherent picture. The seeds of transformation are present in chaos. As a caterpillar experiences the soupy breakdown of its caterpillar being, new cells, called imaginal cells begin to multiply. These cells multiply and overwhelm the immune system. The caterpillar actually liquifies. Finally, the imaginal cells gather, differentiate and form and entirely new creature– the butterfly. Everything is put back together in a new, dynamic, updated version. We must die to our old self to be born into our true nature and destiny.
Trust that life is carrying you. You’re beginning to become conscious of how harshly the manifestation caused by your old beliefs cut you off from your source, how your old beliefs truly did not serve you. You’re going to experience bouts of chaos. Out of chaos emerges re-organization, a birthing–new life. Soon, you will recognize this cycle and welcome the exciting growth period and accept the unsettling/re-settling period as just as necessary. While you are in chaos, new strengths are forged and merged. You become more.
Real change requires a deep inner shift. If you start lifting weights, you wouldn’t expect to see results right away. Deep muscle change occurs first, unseen. A lot of your initial progress will be internal and invisible. Don’t get discouraged. Your job is to establish new connections in the direction of joy. All you may be able to muster up at first is feeling better; not so out of control. A far cry from joy, but it’s authentic, a new reaction, creating the beginnings of a new way of responding to the world.

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